Summary: We must be willing to go "behind Enemy Lines" in order to recapture those the enemy has stolen.

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November 6, 2011

Morning Worship

Text: Genesis 14:1-24

Subject: Recovering What is Lost

Title: Behind Enemy Lines

Today we celebrate Veterans’ Day and I want to give my personal thanks to all who have served in our military forces. Thank you for your willingness to serve and place yourselves in harm’s way so that we may live lives that are free.

One of the things that amazes me about our military is the camaraderie that is formed when troops remain together and learn to fight side-by-side. I know that there is an unstated policy among our soldiers that really touches me. I said it is unstated, but what I mean is that is doesn’t have to be commanded – it is something that our troops just do. What I am talking about is the willingness of soldiers to go into harms way to rescue a wounded comrade or even a fallen comrade.

It is stated in the Army Rangers Code. Let me read that code to you.

Recognizing that I volunteered as a Ranger, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession, I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of my Ranger Regiment.

Acknowledging the fact that a Ranger is a more elite soldier who arrives at the cutting edge of battle by land, sea, or air, I accept the fact that as a Ranger my country expects me to move further, faster and fight harder than any other soldier.

Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be, one-hundred-percent and then some.

Gallantly will I show the world that I am a specially selected and well-trained soldier. My courtesy to superior officers, neatness of dress and care of equipment shall set the example for others to follow.

Energetically will I meet the enemies of my country. I shall defeat them on the field of battle for I am better trained and will fight with all my might. Surrender is not a Ranger word. I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy and under no circumstances will I ever embarrass my country.

Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission though I be the lone survivor.

Go back and reread the last part of the fifth paragraph. … I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy…

I want you to remember that as we look at a story from the Old Testament that follows along these same lines. God does not want His fallen soldiers left behind to fall into the hands of the enemy.

Let’s look at a short list of those God has rescued. Noah and his family, Moses, Gideon, Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, Daniel, Peter, and Paul…

I’m not going to read the whole passage today, but we will tell the story as we go along.

Lord, I believe this is your word…

I believe all of it…

I believe it is for me…

I accept it as mine…

And I appropriate it to my life right now…

In Jesus’ name…

I. GOD CARES ABOUT ALL HIS PEOPLE…In our story today we see that there had been continual conflict among the peoples of that area, and that now, five kings had gone into battle against four others, Starting in verse 10, 10 Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits, and when the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some of the men fell into them and the rest fled to the hills. 11 The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away. 12 They also carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom. I suppose the key figure in this passage is Lot. We know him as Abram’s nephew. He was one who also received benefit of God’s blessing because he was with Abram. When their possessions became too great and their flocks too big they had to separate and Abram gave Lot the choice – go wherever you want and I’ll go the other direction. 13:10-13, 10 Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. 13 Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD. I don’t know about you, but if I had to make a decision as to whether I went to rescue Lot or not, I would have chosen “not”. I mean, look, he kind of brought this on himself didn’t he?” Do you think that he didn’t know what kind of people lived in Sodom and Gomorrah? Don’t you think that he gave up some of his spiritual standards in order to have the best of life? So, it may have been kind of like, “Adios, amigos. I wish you well. I’ll be praying for you. Hope things get better.” You see, I guess I would have doubted whether Lot really had a relationship with God because of the choices he made. But God sees the heart… Turn over to 2 Peter 2. 4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men 8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. Do you see in verse 7 that God lets the record show that He considers Lot to be a righteous man? In God’s eyes he was worth rescuing. Kind of odd it seems that the world places a value on people according to what they have to offer society and if they don’t have much then they write them off. And at the same time will spend countless time and money to save animals. PETA just last week filed a lawsuit against Sea World charging them with enslaving five Orca whales that perform at the park. Back to the story – God cares about His people and is concerned when they are carried away by the enemy.

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